There’s a new country song that has people pulling out their cowboy hats and boots, including hilarious videos from Ellen DeGeneres and Will Smith.
Music Artist Lil Nas X collaborated with Country Star Billy Ray Cyrus on his hit song “Old Town Road” that was released on Friday.
Within hours of the track being released, it became a cultural phenomenon and top song across the globe on streaming services such as Apple and Spotify. It has also garnered nationwide social media reaction with viral memes and dances to the song.
Brandon Nix, a Queens native and music enthusiast, told PIX11 that he’s a fan of both versions and appreciates seeing “ a legend rock out with a young guy.”
The victory for Atlanta-born artist Lil Nas X follows controversy after his original song was removed from Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for “not embracing enough elements of today’s country music.” Billboard received widespread criticism for the removal, including a discussion around the racial divide across the genre.
According to Smithsonian.com, although African-American cowboys don’t play a part in the popular narrative, historians estimate that one in four cowboys were Black.
“Black artists have been influential in country a long, long way back…but country has rewarded white artists that have taken advantage of those influences, without giving black artists the same opportunities,” Charles Hughes, the director of the Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College, told The New York Times .
Nix believes that the original version of Lil Nas X’s song being removed was a combination of race and style, “Country music is not just one style, it’s multiple styles.”
Billy Ray Cyrus shared his fascination with the track on Twitter and said, “It was so obvious to me after hearing the song just one time. I was thinking, what’s not country about it?”
Cyrus also shared a video of children singing the hit track and wrote “I knew this guy was gonna light up the world with this song.”
Stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Will Smith, Stephen A. Smith and Chris Paul all got in on the fun by sharing their reactions to the hit song.
Visit here to listen to the full song.